FIZZ is the tantalising combination of dodie, Orla Gartland, Greta Isaac and Martin Luke Brown, all outstanding artists in their own right, creating a whole greater than the sum of even the most illustrious parts.
There are top 10 solo albums between them (dodie’s Build A Problem, and Gartland’s Woman on the Internet) and Isaac and Brown have successfully carved out solo projects with experimental folk-pop and witty lyricism.
Right now, they’re squeezing through the counter at Jumbo Records in Leeds to play the most intimate of instore gigs, launching their debut album The Secret to Life.
Despite being an hour late opening the doors to the store, there is a positive and friendly atmosphere, as fans, some of who have travelled and waited for a few hours, cram into the narrow space towards the back of the shop.
Nothing has dampened the enthusiasm of a crowd, waiting and sharing stories while the band and crew frantically set up inside following a much delayed journey from Newcastle.
The crowd are still full of energy, and it’s matched, if not surpassed, by the quartet as they bounce on to the stage and launch into High in Brighton. There follows a joyous 40 minutes, charging through songs like Rocket League, Hell of A Ride and I Just Died.
As Good As It Gets generates a huge reaction, clapping hands from the front to the back. “Slay!” someone next to me calls out. Yes indeed.
It is a totally joyful set, and it’s evident that this band, which grew through the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, is founded on the principle of having a laugh with your mates. There’s an easy chemistry between the band members, close friends who are clearly enjoying being out front and engaging with their fans at close quarters.
The fun and games though, do not detract from the fundamental quality that sits behind the band’s work. All take the lead vocal at various points, the arrangements are slick and translate beautifully into the live environment. The musicianship is top class – Greta and Orla with exquisite guitars, Martin romping around the keyboard in the back corner, having started on guitar, while dodie rocks out on keys, guitar and even breaks out the clarinet at a couple of points.
And the harmonies. Rich, textured, absolutely on point, they fill the small record store with an uplifting consonance of sound.
The music is unashamedly theatrical, backed by a big performance and it’s a great thing to experience. In an era where bands are either shy and self-effacing or angry and overtly political, it’s great to see people just coming out and revelling in the pleasure of making music. Their faces are etched with happiness, and the broadest smiles, mirrored back at them from an equally ecstatic crowd.
The evening closes out with the title track, Secret to Life, and as if to confirm the childlike joy of performing live music, it’s accompanied with meowing sounds and several bursts from dodie’s bubble gun.
FIZZ bounce off stage and as the last bubble bursts, there’s no doubt everyone is leaving feeling better than when they arrived. And that’s the beauty of FIZZ – high spirits, style and substance. It’s an exciting mix that I hope will keep bubbling on for a long time.
You can (and you should!) catch FIZZ on their tour in February 2024. They’ll be playing Dublin, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Manchester, Bristol, London and finishing up with a hometown gig in Brighton. Do not miss it!
High in Brighton
I Just Died
You, Me, Lonely
Hell Of A Ride
As Good As It Gets
Secret To Life